Spring 2012 Sneak Peek #4!


I spent this weekend working in the shop and in the studio. It was an all-together pleasant time and I must admit to feeling quite accomplished.

This little card is in honor of my great love for the sea. Ever since I was very young I felt drawn to the ocean, or felt I needed to be in and around the water in some way. This, as you can imagine, is a bit of a challenge growing up in Missouri (unless you are fond of the muddy waters of the Mississippi). I took to swimming at a very young age and swam competitively until I was 18. Burnt out on butterfly, I moved on to rowing in college and learned to fly on the water using oars instead of arms. When I took out on my own I had no concrete plans, but a very specific destination: by the sea. I landed in Boston and have been here ever since.

If I am ever missing, look for me at the water's edge, on a beach or in a boat. You will find me there. Wherever I am in my life, whatever is going on, I know that I can count on the waves to calm me, the salt air to heal me and the great expanse of the sea to put me rightly in my place. You can never feel too big for your britches when you are standing near the ocean. It is always bigger and deeper and more powerful than anything you bring to it. That has a wonderful way of keeping things in perspective.

This one is for all the mermaids...


By Leigh 02.19.2012 – 7:45 pm


Spring 2012 Sneak Peek #3!

Sketchbook and Inspired

Here is another sneak peek for the May 2012 release! Almost my entire family is made up of educators. English teachers, Business teachers, Kindergarten, French and my Mom just retired from teaching art K-5 for more than 20 years. They have been Deans, Administrators, Advisors and Heads of Departments, and Coaches. They collectively have more education than some small nations and I couldn't be more proud of having grown up surrounded by them. As a result, we stopped at all the scenic views on road trips, went to museums, learned the history of things. We kept rock collections, and bug collections and were not afraid of snakes or spiders. For my brother and me, childhood was rich and full of adventure, and as an adult I continue to learn from them. In fact, some of them still check my final cards for grammar and punctuation (send your emails to them!).

I have such a great and deep respect and admiration for good teachers that I found it hard to write on the subject. That sometimes happens when you are too close to something. This is my first of hopefully many love letters to those who teach. Thank you to those of you who get up each day and shape what is possible.


Let me know what you think!


By Leigh 02.16.2012 – 9:53 am


Photos © 2011 Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

My Minty Valentine Cookies

Photos and The Dish

Happy Happy Happy Happy Valentine's Day!!! I am getting ready to put on my red heels and get into the shop to help the hoards of men-folk find the perfect prezzy for their sweethearts (yeep! so fun!), but before I go, I wanted to leave you with a little treat. This is a recipe for my favorite Christmas cookie that I made Valentine'sy by swapping out the sprinkles. I love this cookie and it is so simple to do I thought I would share!

My Minty Valentine Cookies:

You Will Need:

1 package of Almond Bark (Chocolate was used for this recipe...I found it at Target)

1 small bottle of Peppermint Essential Oil (NOT PEPPERMINT EXTRACT!! This is VERY important)

1 box of Ritz Crackers (use only the perfect ones...well, initially)

Seasonally appropriate sprinkles


1.) Follow the directions on the back of the package of Almond Bark for melting. I have gone the double-boiler route, but honestly, the microwave works better.

Aside: I know that Almond Bark is not the most, um, healthy way to coat something in chocolate. I would much prefer to use real chocolate or at least something with cocoa as the first ingredient, BUT I have tried other things and nothing quite works/tastes the same. Also, it is my Mom's Cookie Exchange recipe and you don't MESS with those ladies.

2.) Once chocolate is fully melted, stir in EXACTLY 7 drops (be very careful here) of the Peppermint essential oil. Stir until well mixed.

3.) One at a time, coat crackers in chocolate. I use a fork here and flip the cracker around until it is coated, then lift it out with a fork and wag it side to side (careful to keep the chocolate in the bowl) to get the excess off and keep the coating even. The ratio of chocolate to cracker is important I think...they want to be sort of thinly coated.

4.) Lay cracker gently onto parchment and sprinkle with sprinkles. Cookies will set up on their own but a quick turn in the fridge will speed the process.

5.) When chocolate has hardend, pick up cookies and clean off the chocolate debris from the sides. Give to your sweethearts or enjoy!

**A note on giving: 3 of these little guys fit perfectly in a standard size cupcake paper. I thought it would be a cute way to bring them to the office or a party!

There you go! I hope you love them (I think they taste like Thin Mints!). Let me know what you think if you make them!


By Leigh 02.14.2012 – 10:56 am


Photos © 2011 Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

We (heart) Valentine’s Day!

Photos and The Biz and Brick & Mortar

Good Monday to you all! It is the day before Valentine's Day and do you know who your sweethearts are?? I love this day because it is an on-the-calendar excuse to write love notes. Now, though I encourage sending love notes all year round, I am not opposed to  a little annual nudge. I think that the ability to tell people how you feel about them is right up there with opposable thumbs and free will on the list of great things about being at our end of the food chain (as you might have guessed given my profession) and here is a whole day to do it!! Yahoo!

This, I realize can cause some anxiety for some folks, so at our shop, Marmalade, we do our best to help. Here are some peeks at what the shop looks like this season!

Lauren, our shop manager, got her hot little hands on the window display this month while I was at market. This was a big leap for me, because I am kind of a visual control freak when it comes to the shop displays and windows, but I was at market, and it had to be delegated. Check out this adorable scene:

We got in these hilariously cute sock animals and Lauren made them the "Valentine's Day Decorating Committee". She made it look like these little critters were decorating the window and getting into all sorts of mischief in the process. It could not be cuter or more "Marmalade". Great job Lauren!! It brings a smile to everyone who passes by!

That's what's going on in the shop at the moment. Also, we had a cute little write up in a local rag. Despite the poor grammar-check, it is a cute piece about the greeting card industry and my place in it.

Love to know what you think!! Do love V-day?? Not love it? Why?


By Leigh 02.13.2012 – 12:34 pm


The Red Shoe Diaries

Style File

No, I am not starting your Tuesday with soft-porn starring a young and brooding David Duchovny. Though, that depends on your definition of 'soft-porn'. For some, a collection of beautiful red shoes might qualify. I might fall into that category.

But seriously, with Valentine's Day upon us, those of us in the greeting card industry hope you will find our words best suited to tell the ones you love just that. There are pounds of chocolates, fields of flowers and very limited restaurant reservations to be had. But I say, do yourself (and your love) a favor and take a moment to make yourself feel loved. Now there is a greater point here than shoes (obvs.). If you feel fabulous, you look fabulous, and if you look and feel fabulous, you are fabulous to be around. Fabulous to be around = chemically irresistable. So, go ahead, get a work out in, exfoliate, floss, primp, get out of your stretchy pants...whatever it takes to turn your mojo up a notch. Then, grab a swell pair of red shoes and make an entrance. It never ever fails.

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and I propose that a way to a woman's is through her feet. So here are my favorite sweetheart shoes for this sweetheart season:

1.) Bensimon Slip-ons : yoox

2.)Minx by Stuart Weitzman: Piperlime

3.)Panther by MizMooz: Piperlime

4.)Red Stripe Welliebob : Joules

5.)Ankle Strap by Dansko: Endless

6.)Vivian by Tahari: Piperlime

7.)Gracie pump by Calvin Klein: Macys

8.)Wilton flat by Mossimo: Target

9.)Marmie by Crocs: Piperlime

10.) Lido by Kate Spade: Nieman Marcus

11.) Float pump by ZiGiny: Endless

12.)Hunter Original Wellies Glossy: Shoes.com

13.)Jaclyn by Sacha London: Endless

14.)Fuchia Crochet Classics by TOMS: Toms

15.)Suede Bow Slingback: Boden

There you go! Which are your favorites? What is your favorite way to feel fabulous!!?


By Leigh 02.07.2012 – 11:11 am


Photos © 2011 Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

A happy little little baby shower


Hi All!! I am back from the New York Gift Show and getting caught up. Phew! January is a bit of a blur... a lovely lovely blur.

Between gift shows and catching up after the holidays, I had the pleasure of throwing a dear friend a baby shower. I really really love doing events and parties and have not gotten too many chances recently so I was giddy that I got to do this one! Babies somehow always make me think of spring, so I was challenging myself to make the event seasonally appropriate as well as unique to the new mama (and papa...who was in attendance!). I also didn't want to just make everything blue because they are having a boy and I promised there would be no embarrassing games involving nipples of any sort.

These two love hiking and camping (well, I think he might like camping more than she...) and being outside and will no doubt be out and about on the trails and in the world with their new little boy. I decided to go with a "happy little camper" theme and keep it woodsy and casual.

It should come as no surprise to you at this point that I actually had many of the props and supplies that I used for the day. The vintage cooler was an etsy find many years ago and actually graced our Curly Girl catalog pages last year. I used my collection of vintage stadium blankets as tablecloths and borrowed some vintage wood boxes from the shop. A vintage picnic basket that my mom gave us was used as a centerpiece and a ball jar-esque water decanter was a wedding gift.

My friends and I made 's'mores pops' (super easy and cute) and 'campfire weenies' (crockpot cocktail weenies). The girls at Glutenous Minimus made this gorgeous chocolate cake with marshmallow layers to look like a tree stump. Complete with meringue mushrooms! Barbara at Derby Farm did the beautiful 'woodsy' flower arrangements.

We had sandwiches (provided by the new mama's sister) and chips and veggies and dip. All with champagne and Izzys of course! (Casual + Fancy = Love.) I did find a set of enamel camping mugs at an outdoors store that I had to have for the event and the party store had cute red plastic picnic food baskets that we used instead of plates.

One of my favorite parts was the "Happy Little Camper" garland that I made using sticks and yarn. Unfortunately I couldn't get a great photo of it because it hung between rooms. But here are a few shots of the process (ignore my messy kitchen):

Basically just made the letters with sticks and hot glued them together, wrapped them with random yarn to make it look like I made it at camp and glued them to a long piece of braided yarns. It is actually still hanging in my house it is so cute! Coach will probably start to wonder about it here in a minute.

Like I said, I did promise no embarrassing games, but a friend suggested something she had done at another shower that I thought was a really sweet idea. I labeled cards with numbers 1-30 and asked people to choose one. We handed out pens and then asked folks to write the baby a letter to be opened on the birthday that coordinated with the number on their card. So, for example, I got number 12 and wrote a letter to the little boy to be opened on his 12th birthday. It was a strangely moving experience, with lots of laughs and some good advice.

As a little take home, I begged asked Bridget over at Bake at 350 to make me her adorable camper cookies. I could not have asked for anything more perfect (and DELICIOUS...I may have had one or two...) or beautiful. They came beautifully wrapped all the way from Texas and were a total hit! In case you can't tell, I am plugging hard for her to come out of retirement (wink)! Even though she does not technically sell her beautiful creations anymore, she does have an amazing blog that you should check out tout de suite!

At the end of the day we sat around chatting (and eating the rest of the cocktail weenies) and talking about when the baby comes. We were surrounded by diapers and wrapping paper and champagne corks and good friends and love. My favorite kind of day!!

Thanks to my friends for their help with everything and to Lizzy for some of these photos!

Happy Monday! I would love to know what you think!


By Leigh 02.06.2012 – 3:23 pm

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